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Lobbying and Networking for the Future of the Young

Plenary / Panel
english language


Researcher,; Director, Civic Engagement Programmes,, Dublin Abstract
Nothing About Us Without Us?

Using the adage that  a good crisis should never be wasted this presentation will suggest that our institutions could and should be learning from emerging youth-led movements across the EU and further afield: In recent years, in response to the EU s economic and political crisis, we have seen a reinvigoration of youth involvement in non formal politics and a widening of the arena for genuine  civic engagement . This movement has taken place largely outside of (or in spite of) any existing national or EU level political systems, structures or projects. In this emerging  space there are examples of the organic emergence of participative democracy, of internationalism, of efforts towards non-formal youth-led education, lifestyle and communication strategies which in a time of chronic un- and underemployment, demand consideration and support from those who influence policy making.
Vice President, European Economic and Social Committee, Brussels Abstract
Youth policy should put the experts in focus, the youth themselves. How are young people put in the driving seat to be able to influence policy if often they are on the fringes of the policy making process? Anna Maria Darmanin's participation in the panel shall focus on the current opportunities available for young people to lobby and network in order to influence policy making. The instruments available with the European Economic and Social Committee and specific projects underline to focus on the experts: young people. Furthermore she will outline her recommendations of how to put young people in the driving seat.
Co-President, European Alternatives, London Abstract
The  future of the young can be understood in two ways: the future of young in Europe, and the future of everyone and of our planet. We need to act to promote the representation of young people in politics and the discussion of issues affecting the young in general, and we also need to act now on a series of issues which are particularly facing the current generation of young people, and which will be decisive for the future of our society. They include unemployment, living costs, a growing feeling of injustice and the loss of rights, climate change, the invasion of public space by private enterprise, a feeling of being under control and loss of liberty and changing patterns of solidarity and affiliation. In my talk I will speak about the new modes of organisation of young people forming themselves into new political subjectivities across Europe, and the disconnection between these forms of youthful organisation and the political institutions. I will do this from my position as a kind of mediator between them. I will propose that the youth need to become more strategic in forcing institutional change, and they need to do so not only with their own benefit or interests in mind, but with the interests of everyone at heart.
Representative, Popular Assembly of Sol, Madrid Abstract
On may 15th, 2011, after a huge, flag-free demonstration called by DRY (Real Democracy Now), a group of 30 to 40 people spontaneously decided to set up a camp at Puerta del Sol, and to keep it up for 7 days, until elections day. In less than 48 hours we unwillingly created what turned out to be named as the 15M movement. It soon spread to the whole country, then Europe (where it's named 'Take the Square'), and surprisingly enough, North America ('Occupy Wall St.').
What's this huge movement turned into today? What has it achieved? What keeps it together? What is its future like? What are its weapons and weakspots? Will it ever turn into a political party? These are the most typical questions we get, and also the toughest to answer. Oh, and then there's another awfully common one: is it dead?
15M people are proud to be politically incorrect and disobedient, and extremely democratic and ethical. Above, or besides its political character, it is a bunch of very determined and angry people, but also highly educated, creative, aware and influential, with a good knowledge of network systems, and experience in team-working. So yet another question arises: can it effectively work as a lobby?
I will not even attempt to actually answer these questions, but just discuss a bit about them. But it's ok, because questions are often more valuable than answers.
Former Chair, Advisory Council for Youth, Council of Europe, Strasbourg Abstract
Unable to bribe or exercise political pressure in the same way as other stakeholders and businesses, youth organisations not only struggle to make their voices heard but to find out when crucial meetings are held and processes initiated, which makes it difficult to contribute constructively and over a longer term. Little is achieved by complaining once decisions are made, and building on my experiences of the co-management system of the Council of Europe, I would like to discuss how we enable youth organisations to become partners in decision-making and hence also take advantage of their expertise and perspectives.
Head, European Commission Representation in Austria, Vienna Chair


Researcher,; Director, Civic Engagement Programmes,, Dublin

2007-2008 Development Education Outreach Worker at Galway One World Centre
2008-2009 Western Region Campaigns and Development Officer at Amnesty International Ireland
2009-2011 Director of Civic Engagement Programmes at
2011-2012 Consultant to's Civic Engagement Programmes, Researcher and Civic Engagement Consultant to


Vice President, European Economic and Social Committee, Brussels

1990-1994 Bachelor of Arts, Communication Studies and Psychology, University of Malta
1994-1995 Executive, NSTS
1994-1997 Master of Arts, Human Resource Development, University of Malta
1995-1999 Human Resources Executive, Gasan Group, Gzira Malta
1999-2000 Human Resources Manager, Enemalta Corporation
2000-2001 Human Resources and Quality Manager, United Group, Gzira Malta
2005-2008 Employment and Training Corporation, Hal Far, Malta
since 2001 Member of the Union Maghqudin, UHM and Confederation of Malta Trade Unions, CMTU, Council; free lance Trainer
 since2004 Vice President, Member representing UHM and CMTU, European Economic and Social Commitee
since 2002 Part-Time Lecturer, University of Malta, Msida


Co-President, European Alternatives, London

2002-2005 MA Philosophy St John's College, Cambridge UK
2005-2007 Senior Editor, The Liberal Magazine, UK
since 2007 Founder and Co-President of European Alternatives
2007-2009 MPhil Etudes Politiques, EHESS Paris, France
since 2011 Lead Trainer, YAANI - Young Arab Analysts Network International Network of Policy Analysts, British Council Morocco
since 2012 Elected Board Member, Cultural Innovators Network

Antonia WULFF

Former Chair, Advisory Council for Youth, Council of Europe, Strasbourg

2004-2006 President, FSS - Union of Swedish-speaking School Students in Finland, Helsinki
since 2006 Columnist, Ny Tid, Helsinki
2006-2008 Board Member, Organising Bureau of European School Student Unions, Brussels
2007-2009 Project Manager, Democracy in Schools, Helsinki
2008-2009 Consultant, Swedish-Finnish Cultural Foundation, Espoo
2009-2012 Chair, Advisory Council on Youth, Council of Europe, Strasbourg
since 2009 Columnist, Huvudstadsbladet, Helsinki
2009-2011 Co-chair, Ad-Hoc Advisory Group on Child and Youth Participation, Council of Europe, Strasbourg
2010-2010 Consultant, Folkhälsan, Helsinki
2010-2012 Chair, Joint Council on Youth, Council of Europe, Strasbourg
since 2012 Freelance Trainer and Consultant

Mag. Richard KÜHNEL

Head, European Commission Representation in Austria, Vienna

1989-1994 Studium der Rechtswissenschaften, Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz; Auslandssemester in Lyon, Florenz, Princeton
1994-2004 Diplomatischer Dienst, Außenministerium, u. a. in Tokio, New York
2004-2008 Kabinett der Kommissarin für Außenbeziehungen und Europäische Nachbarschaftspolitik Dr. Benita Ferrero-Waldner
seit 2008 Vertreter der Europäischen Kommission in Österreich